Category: Diving

Mechanics of diving 

Tomb of the DiverPaestumItaly, a Greek fresco dated 470 BC

At the moment of take-off, two critical aspects of the dive are determined, and cannot subsequently be altered during the execution. One is the trajectory of the dive, and the other is the magnitude of the angular momentum.

The speed of rotation – and therefore the total amount of rotation – may be varied from moment to moment by changing the shape of the body, in accordance with the law of conservation of angular momentum.

The center of mass of the diver follows a parabolic path in free-fall under the influence of gravity (ignoring the effects of air resistance, which are negligible at the speeds involved)

Plunging

Although diving has been a popular pastime across the world since ancient times, the first modern diving competitions were held in England in the 1880s. The exact origins of the sport are unclear, though it likely derives from the act of diving at the start of swimming races.[2][3] The 1904 book Swimming by Ralph Thomas notes English reports of plunging records dating back to at least 1865.[4] The 1877 edition to British Rural Sports by John Henry Walsh makes note of a “Mr. Young” plunging 56 feet in 1870, and also states that 25 years prior, a swimmer named Drake could cover 53 feet.[5]

The English Amateur Swimming Association (at the time called the Swimming Association of Great Britain) first started a “plunging championship” in 1883.[6][7] The Plunging Championship was discontinued in 1937.

Fancy diving

Diving into a body of water had also been a method used by gymnasts in Germany and Sweden since the early 19th century. The soft landing allowed for more elaborate gymnastic feats in midair as the jump could be made from a greater height. This tradition evolved into ‘fancy diving’, while diving as a preliminary to swimming became known as ‘Plain diving’.

In England, the practice of high diving – diving from a great height – gained popularity; the first diving stages were erected at the Highgate Ponds at a height of 15 feet in 1893 and the first world championship event, the National Graceful Diving Competition, was held there by the Royal Life Saving Society in 1895. The event consisted of standing and running dives from either 15 or 30 feet.

It was at this event that the Swedish tradition of fancy diving was introduced to the sport by the athletes Otto Hagborg and C F Mauritzi. They demonstrated their acrobatic techniques from the 10m diving board at Highgate Pond and stimulated the establishment of the Amateur Diving Association in 1901, the first organization devoted to diving in the world (later amalgamated with the Amateur Swimming Association). Fancy diving was formally introduced into the championship in 1903.[8][9]

Olympic era

Swedish high diver Arvid Spångberg at the 1908 Olympic Games from the fourth Olympiad.

Plain diving was first introduced into the Olympics at the 1904 event. The 1908 Olympics in London added ‘fancy diving’ and introduced elastic boards rather than fixed platforms. Women were first allowed to participate in the diving events for the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.[8]

In the 1928 Olympics, ‘plain’ and ‘fancy’ diving was amalgamated into one event – ‘Highboard Diving’. The diving event was first held indoors in the Empire Pool for the 1934 British Empire Games and 1948 Summer Olympics in London.

Springboard Diving

  • Six dives should be completed by men, five by women
  • Dives can be performed of any difficulty level
  • One dive during the contest must come from each of five different categories (forward, back, reverse, inward, twisting)
  • Men may repeat one of the categories for their sixth dive, women may not
  • Each dive must be different, meaning no dive can be repeated

Platform diving & Synchronized Springboard

  • Men complete six dives, women complete five
  • For both men and women, the first two dives must have a difficulty level of 2.0
  • The remaining dives for both men and women can be of any difficulty level
  • Both men and women must complete dives from at least four different categories with at least one of the dives being forward facing

Scoring the dive

There are rules governing the scoring of a dive. Usually a score considers three elements of the dive: the approach, the flight, and the entry. The primary factors affecting the scoring are:

  • if a hand-stand is required, the length of time and quality of the hold
  • the height of the diver at the apex of the dive, with extra height resulting in a higher score
  • the distance of the diver from the diving apparatus throughout the dive (a diver must not be dangerously close, should not be too far away, but should ideally be within 2 feet (0.61 m) of the platform)
  • the properly defined body position of the diver according to the dive being performed, including pointed toes and feet touching at all times
  • the proper amounts of rotation and revolution upon completion of the dive and entry into the water
  • angle of entry – a diver should enter the water straight, without any angle.
  • amount of splash – many judges award divers for the amount of splash created by the diver on entry, with less splash resulting in a higher score.

Each dive is assigned a degree of difficulty (DD), which is determined from a combination of the moves undertaken, position used, and height. The DD value is multiplied by the scores given by the judges.

To reduce the subjectivity of scoring in major meets, panels of five or seven judges are assembled; major international events such as the Olympics use seven-judge panels. For a five-judge panel, the highest and lowest scores are discarded and the middle three are summed and multiplied by the DD. For seven-judge panels, as of the 2012 London Olympics, the two highest scores and two lowest are discarded, leaving three to be summed and multiplied by the DD. (Prior to the London Olympics, the highest and lowest scores were eliminated, and the remaining five scores were multiplied by ​35, to allow for comparison to five-judge panels.) The canceling of scores is used to make it difficult for a single judge to manipulate scores.

There is a general misconception about scoring and judging. In serious meets, the absolute score is somewhat meaningless. It is the relative score, not the absolute score that wins meets. Accordingly, good judging implies consistent scoring across the dives. Specifically, if a judge consistently gives low scores for all divers, or consistently gives high scores for the same divers, the judging will yield fair relative results and will cause divers to place in the correct order. However, absolute scores have significance to the individual divers. Besides the obvious instances of setting records, absolute scores are also used for rankings and qualifications for higher level meets.

In synchronised diving events, there is a panel of seven, nine, or eleven judges; two or three to mark the execution of one diver, two or three to mark the execution of the other, and the remaining three or five to judge the synchronisation. The execution judges are positioned two on each side of the pool, and they score the diver which is nearer to them. The 2012 London Olympics saw the first use of eleven judges.

The score is computed similarly to the scores from other diving events, but has been modified starting with the 2012 London Olympics for the use of the larger judging panels. Each group of judges will have the highest and lowest scores dropped, leaving the middle score for each diver’s execution and the three middle scores for synchronization. The total is then weighted by ​35 and multiplied by the DD. The result is that the emphasis is on the synchronization of the divers.

The synchronisation scores are based on:

  • time of take-off
  • height attained
  • synchronisation of rotations and twists
  • time of entry to the water
  • forward travel from the board

The judges may also disqualify the diver for certain violations during the dive, including:

  • receiving a score of 0 on all dives performed in the event
  • improper equipment usage (e.g., female divers not using hair ties)

Diving

COMPETITIVE DIVING, WHICH DEVELOPED FROM GYMNASTICS, STARTED IN SWEDEN AND GERMANY IN THE 18TH CENTURY.

GYMNASTICS BEGINNINGS

Diving became popular in Sweden and Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries. The sport was primarily practised by gymnasts who started performing tumbling routines into the water.

POPULARITY SPREADS

In the late 19th century a group of Swedish divers visited Great Britain. They put on diving displays that proved hugely popular and led to the formation of the first diving organisation, the Amateur Diving Association, in 1901.

OLYMPIC HISTORY

Diving was included in the Olympic Games for the first time at the 1904 Games in St Louis. The springboard and platform events have been included since the 1908 Olympic Games in London. Since the Stockholm Games in 1912, women have taken part in the diving events.

The first Olympic competitions differed from those which exist nowadays, notably with respect to the height of the platforms and springboards. The diving programme has been relatively stable since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam: men and women take part in 10-metre high-dive and 3-metre springboard events. In 2000, the Sydney Games witnessed the entrance of synchronised diving on both the springboard and the platform.

This discipline was firstly dominated by the USA. This domination started to waiver with the participation of China at the end of the 1980s. When the American Greg Louganis, who is considered as the greatest diver ever, was still in competition, the Chinese managed to achieve some victories. Since Louganis retired, China has dominated the men’s events. Lately, China’s women divers have proved themselves unbeatable.

ONE OF FOUR DISCIPLINES

Diving, along with swimming, synchronised swimming and water polo, is one of the four disciplines governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA).

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